Poor Eph. The good doctor just can’t buy a break at all. For one, his son is in the captivity of the Master, still living, but being used simply to torture poor E. His wife who has been a vampire for some time, is also in the service of the Master and is likewise being used to turn his screws tighter, and tighter, and tighter. Everybody seems to hate him, to include those that he was once close and even intimate. He is a mess, ragged, frazzled, and on the edge. Yet in spite of this, some way, somehow, in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, holds the keys to everything in how The Strain: The Night Eternal will play out in the end. We have now moved into Issue #8 of this truly dark third installment of the book trilogy written by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan with David Lapham given the transformative writing duties and Mike Huddleston working the visual depictions of these hard times for humans.
Both Lapham and Huddleston have been working on this series for quite a while now. And they have an excellent groove in working with one another. Their words and art respectively envelops the reader in, well, darkness. This third book is by far the darkest and most down of the three and it isn’t the most fun to read as it feels almost devoid of any hope whatsoever. But with Lapham and Huddleston, it might just be a little itty bitty pinhole of light. But it is a pinhole that might just hold the lynchpin to release this deathly grip of the Master once and for all. Here is hoping anyway.
For this particular issue, it seem that only Dr. Goodweather can save humanity at least in the opinion of the remaining “good” vampire Quinlan as well as the words of one old (and deceased) Professor Abraham Setrakian (so nice to hear that name again) who apparently felt that Eph did hold the key to uncovering the secrets of the ancient Lumens text using science to decipher through the superstition, coming up with an actual way to defeat the Master.
But in spite of this belief, very few think that deciphering the Lumens will be done before all is lost, Dr. Goodweather included. Others have ideas for a quick strike to take out the Master leaving Eph to his own faith. Who wins out will be determined within coming issues. But a decision has been made to try to draw out the Master and possibly take a chance to make him vulnerable. This issue addresses that plan and uncovers some conspirators in the midst of our heroes that might just derail it all.
I have had a lot of trouble reading The Night Eternal as the dark tones have been downright depressing at times. As a set, The Night Eternal has been my least favorite of the trilogy so far. But to read it is to love it and in reading the first two books, Night Eternal is the final progression in this trilogy. It is brutal, but only because of the excellent writing of Lapham with the art of Huddleston. The goal is to make the reader feel uncomfortable and cold, feeling much of the same emotions that our struggling band of heroes are feeling. With that touch, these two are succeeding on all levels.
But even though our creative team continues to impress, something feels like it needs to give to bust this thing wide open. Nearly all hope has been lost. We need a victory or something to keep on going. A couple of issues, we had the “miracle” from the sky that saved Eph during a bold prison rescue. I am feeling that another “miracle” event needs to come soon. But as for now, the continuing forecast calls for more suffering, more darkness, and more defeat. But stay tuned as it is worth it.